Nagorno-Karabakh: A Convening of Community Leaders

A negotiation exercise to help students understand real-world influences and factors affecting the present situation around Nagorno-Karabakh.


It is currently March 2019, and tensions between the Armenian and Azerbaijani governments over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh have been mounting. Nagorno-Karabakh is physically located within Azerbaijan, but has been under Armenian control since the 1994 ceasefire agreement that was brokered by Russia. 

Since the parties’ governments cannot agree to come to the negotiating table, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has convened a daylong roundtable of community leaders to discuss the issue informally and share their perspectives. The UNHCR hopes that, upon conclusion of the meeting, all present will make a public statement with suggestions on how their communities and governments can ease existing tensions and resume formal negotiations. The UNHCR has invited community representatives from Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Nagorno-Karabakh to meet in Helsinki, Finland for talks. 

Teaching Points

  • Gain a better understanding of the difficulties surrounding conflicting, historical narratives and sacred issues in modern negotiations. 
  • Exposure to issues including territorial integrity, cultural and ethnic ties, and the pressure from outside influences that complicate the conflict. 
  • Opportunities to promote cooperation in difficult circumstances.
  • Practice sequencing and optimizing informal discussions with formal negotiations
  • Understanding real-world influences and factors affecting the present situation around Nagorno-Karabakh

Teaching Materials

Participant Packet 

  • Role Matrix: Overview of all participants and role assignments 
  • Meeting Schedule: Details the locations and meetings within the scenario
  • General Information: Scenario Background
  • Character Sheets: Confidential background information for each role

Instructor Packet 

  • Teaching Guide: Provides the instructor with an overview of the scenario, exercise logistics, teaching points, and debriefing notes
  • Soft copy of suggested introductory and debrief powerpoint slides
  • All Participant documents except the Character Sheets

Master Packet (add on)

  • One spare copy of all Participant and Instructor documents (not including soft copy of Powerpoint slides)

Exercise Specifications

Format: In person or Online
Time Required for Exercise: 3 hours
Number of participants: 9-12
Negotiating parties (teams): 3
Scorable: No
Prior Knowledge of Topic: Not Required
Language: English